Denver Broncos (4-1; 4-1 ATS; 3-2 O/U) vs. San Diego Chargers (1-4; 3-2 ATS; 4-1 O/U)
NFL: Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 8:25pm EST
Line: Denver -2.5
The Denver Broncos will look to rebound for their first loss of the season as they head to San Diego to take on the Chargers in a divisional battle Thursday night from Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos fell 23-16 to the Falcons last Sunday, and the Chargers were edged 34-31 by the Raiders. The Broncos beat the Chargers in both meetings last season, and have not lost to them since 2013.
Lynch Struggles in Broncos First Loss of Season, Siemian Ready for Thursday
The Denver Broncos suffered their first loss of the season behind a weak performance from rookie QB Paxton Lynch last Sunday. Lynch was forced into action due to the injury to Trevor Siemian, and struggled, throwing for 223 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and missed his mark on several passes. The good news for Broncos fans is Siemian will suit up in this matchup after injuring his shoulder back in week four. Siemian has looked great for the Broncos, beating three good teams, and has tallied six touchdowns with three interceptions this season. C.J. Anderson continues to struggle, rushing for just 41 yards off 11 carries, and has not rushed for more than 50 yards since week two. Anderson averaged 4.7 yards per carry last season, and after five games this season he is only averaging 3.5 yards per carry. Overall, the Denver offense has been solid, now averaging 25.4 points per game, ranking them 10th overall.
The Broncos defense was able to slow down Matt Ryan and the Falcons ferocious offense, however Atlanta still managed to push across 23 points against the vaunted Broncos defense. The 23 points allowed was a season-high for the Broncos defense which is now allowing an average of 17.4 points per game, ranking them sixth in the NFL.
Chargers Defense Fails Them Again in Loss to Raiders
The San Diego Chargers fought hard in a back and forth affair but fell 34-31 to the Raiders last Sunday. Rookie holder Drew Kaser led a snap go through his hands an attempt to tie the game with two minutes left. Phillip Rivers was solid connecting on 21 of 30 passes for a season-high 359 yards with four touchdowns, but tossed two interceptions. The veteran quarterback has been solid this season, throwing for over 1100 yards with 11 touchdowns to go with just three interceptions. San Diego had trouble on the ground, rushing for only 72 yards, with Melvin Gordon leading the way with 69 yards off 16 carries, and he has now rushed for only 299 yards this season. Travis Benjamin had a monster game, making seven grabs for 117 yards, and now leads the Chargers with 394 receiving yards but has just two touchdowns. The Chargers had big trouble holding onto the ball, fumbling the ball five times two of which were recovered by Oakland. Overall, the Chargers offense continues to be productive, now averaging 30.2 points per game, ranking them second in the NFL. The Chargers have lost four games by a combined 14 points. They’ve held second-half leads in each loss. Sunday’s defeat marked the Chargers’ 10th straight defeat to AFC West opponents.
The San Diego defense struggled for the second straight week, conceding 317 yards in the air, as their pass defense has been an issue this season, plus they are dealing with injuries to their secondary. The Chargers 2016 first round pick Joey Bosa was a bright spot, making two sacks in his NFL debut. San Diego is now allowing an average of 28.4 points per game, ranking them 27th overall.
The Denver Broncos are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games against the Chargers.
- 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games overall.
The San Diego Chargers are:
- 1-9 ATS in their last 10 home games against a team with a winning road record.
- 3-12 ATS in their last 15 home games.
- 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
I am taking the Broncos with this small spread. I really like this matchup for the Broncos especially because Siemian is back in the lineup. The Chargers secondary is full of injuries right now, and San Diego is conceding 291 passing yards per game, so I expect Siemian to have his way downfield. Also, the Chargers offense has faced some weak defensive units so far this season, and now that they are facing the stifling Denver defense I expect to see their offensive production dwindle in this contest. The Chargers rely primarily on their passing game and the Denver secondary is outstanding, allowing only an average of 185 passing yards per game, so they should contain the Chargers offense and cover the small spread.